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Grilling may feel footloose and fancy-free, but that’s before you realize you have to scrub the grill after you’re done. Whether you’re cooking up a couple of elotes or dozens of burgers, clean grill grates mean food that’s safer, tastier, and less prone to sticking. To get the cleanest grill around, brush your grates with a damp grill brush either after every session or while the grill is heating up.
But which grill brush is the right one for you? There are metal bristle brushes, steam brushes, and even electric brushes that take some of the labor off the table. Some materials can be used on any grill surface, while others are too harsh for delicate grates. The grill brush that’s best for you depends on your personal needs.
Of course, the best way to see if a grill brush is worthy of a hook on your grill is to put it through some tests. I had my top picks sent to me for a few rounds of testing including cleaning a warm grill both dry and after dipping the brush in water. I also checked their deep-cleaning prowess by testing whether they'd reach all the way to the back of a warm grill, noting whether or not the handle was too short, poorly angled, or if my hand got too close to the grates. Lastly, after all this, the brushes needed to be cleaned of gunk. In the end, the Grillaholics Pro Brass Grill Brush won its place as the best overall pick thanks to the durability of its brass bristles.
After all this testing, here are the best grilling brushes for a successful BBQ season.
Best Overall: Grillaholics Pro Brass Grill Brush
What We Love: Non-shedding, risk-free purchase, little force required
What We Don't Love: No warranty, not dishwasher-safe
Stainless brass is both heavy-duty and not prone to shedding bristles, meaning this brush can be used regularly without fear. Since it’s made from brass and not stainless steel, this grill brush is safe for every kind of grill, including delicate porcelain and ceramic grates.
Since this wood-handled brush is on the heavier side, it’s actually really easy to get your grill clean without applying much pressure. I found during testing that the brass bristles are durable and great for most surfaces. One downside is that it cannot be placed in the dishwasher, and some gunk did get trapped between the bristles. After the tests, I ran it under hot water for several seconds which helped to alleviate that.
The 18-inch handle is ideal for leverage, and the design is meant to amplify cleaning. Reviewers confirm the manufacturer’s claim that this brush gets your grill cleaner faster than most. The company also offers a risk-free purchase, meaning you can send it back if you’re unsatisfied. Strength and utility are combined in this all-around excellent outdoor grill brush.
Length: 18 inches | Bristle Material: Brass | Dishwasher Safe: No
Best Overall, Runner-Up: Kona 360° Clean Grill Brush
What We Love: Inexpensive, can be used on different surfaces, 5-year warranty
What We Don't Love: Stainless steel bristles can be tough to clean, loses some bristles with force
This three-brushes-in-one brush exerts extra force while you use it, cleaning not only the top surface but also the spaces between grates. It’s a quick, efficient, and inexpensive tool that can be used on porcelain, ceramic, infrared, and traditional grill grates. The bristles are made from stainless steel and a weather-resistant handle means accidentally leaving this exposed won’t ruin the brush.
At 18 inches, this tool is the ideal length for maximizing the strength from your hand with minimal effort and yet be far enough away from any rising heat. That is, for taller people. I'm shorter than average height and had to stand on the edge of my feet to reach the other side of my grill during testing. During those tests, this brush does shed some bristles without a lot of force. But it comes clean easily under running water and is durable enough to stand the test of time. It also comes with a 5-year limited warranty, so you won’t have to worry about replacing it soon.
Length: 18 inches | Bristle Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Best Budget: Weber 6464 18-Inch Bamboo Grill Brush
What We Love: Rustproof, 2-year warranty
What We Don't Love: Bamboo can absorb water and rot, no angle
For the money, this metal-bristled brush does do the trick, with the help of a scraper at the tip of the brush, for really stubborn food. I lost a few stainless steel bristles shed during testing, and you can’t toss this in the dishwasher, owing to its wooden handle. Instead, running it through hot water for a few seconds did help get it clean.
A lack of angled head means that it can be hot and awkward to reach the back of the grill, an issue I ran into on the deep-cleaning test. But there are other bonuses to this brush, like a loop to hang it and the scraper at the tip. Weber also offers a 2-year warranty should anything go wrong. That, plus the ability to work on chrome, porcelain enamel, cast iron, and stainless steel grates, makes this straightforward brush an excellent choice for a budget option.
Length: 18 inches | Bristle Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher Safe: No
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Best Bristle-Free: POLIGO BBQ Grill Cleaning Brush
What We Love: Has attached scraper, protects against scratches
What We Don't Love: Not dishwasher-safe
Not only is this sturdy grill brush bristle-free, but it also has an attached scraper, perfect for attacking the sticky bits on your grill grates. Helix coils protect grill grates against scratches and the three-in-one design is ideal for getting at really tough messes.
An 18-inch reinforced non-slip handle is the ideal length for leverage. That reinforcement means it won’t snap, even under pressure. The metal is also rust-resistant so it’ll stay intact longer. This brush is gentle enough to be used on porcelain, ceramic, iron, and steel grates.
Length: 18 inches | Bristle Material: Woven wire | Dishwasher Safe: No
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Best Luxury: Cuisinart Grill Dozer Steam Cleaning Grill Cleaning Tool
What We Love: Ergonomically designed, comes with water tank
What We Don't Love: Not dishwasher-safe, somewhat uncomfortable angle
Cuisinart’s Grill Dozer Steam Cleaning Brush is the creme de la creme of grill brushes, with a cleaning and sanitizing spray system that makes cleaning a breeze. The spray expels a fine mist that turns to steam on a hot grill, helping to break down any leftover debris. The stainless-stee brush is three-sided, can reach into hard-to-clean areas, and is suitable for charcoal and gas grills.
The spray trigger is thumb-activated and the handle is ergonomically designed for comfort, plus the attached water tank makes it easy to fill the spray container. The arm on this grill brush is longer than most of the other ones I tested, meaning I could easily reach the back of the grill for the deep cleaning test. And the built-in spraying mechanism made it easy to wet and clean the grill all at once, removing hard-to-address gunk. The only downside is that the angle of the brush means that you have to tip forward a little awkwardly, and that may not work for everyone.
Length: 18 inches | Bristle Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher Safe: No
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Best for Indoor Grills: OXO Good Grips Electric Grill and Panini Press Brush
What We Love: Keeps grip while wet
What We Don't Love: Can’t be used on outdoor grills, some force needed
This indoor-only grill brush has soft and flexible bristles that are well suited to panini presses, indoor grills, electric grill tops, waffle makers, and more. The handle is soft and comfortable and allows for ample leverage, and has a nonstick function that keeps its grip even when wet.
A wiper blade helps dislodge grease and food and is made from a heat-resistant silicone that will not melt in high temperatures. Since the bristles are soft, this can be used on nonstick pans, too, and it won’t damage the surface. I tested this on my grill pan and found that it removed most of the gunk before a wash in the sink. The bristles are relatively soft, so you’ll need to exert a little more pressure, though none shed during testing.
If you’ve struggled with cleaning an indoor grill or press, this is a really handy tool (it works well on pans, too). Although it’s not dishwasher-safe, the silicone brushes are easily cleaned with hot running water.
Length: 6 inches | Bristle Material: Nylon | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Related: The Best Indoor Grills
With the ability to work on every type of grill grate, the Grillaholics Pro Brass Grill Brush (view at Amazon) came in tops after all the testing was done. The flexible Kona 360° Clean Grill Brush (view at Amazon) cleans nearly any surface capably and the warranty guarantees that you’ll have this brush for a long time to come.
What Are the Other Options?
Le Creuset Nylon Grill Brush: My list used to include this Le Creuset brush as a pick for cast-iron grates, but upon testing, I realized that, because of its size, you can’t use this on a hot outdoor grill (and, unless you’re tall, it won’t reach the back anyway). It also did shed some bristles during testing. The fact that you can toss it in the dishwasher makes it a no-brainer for cast-iron pans, but its small size isn't useful for outdoor grills.
What to Look for in a Grill Brush
The first thing to look for in a grill brush is heat resistance. Avoid brushes that warn against use on hot surfaces and look specifically for notes that say “heat-safe” or “heat-resistant” when purchasing. Metal-framed brushes (with metal around the brush itself) are the most resistant to heat.
The longer the grill handle the farther away your hand will be from direct heat. But many people prefer a shorter handle as it gives them more leverage in scraping debris from the grill grates. Whether you prefer long, short, or medium is really up to you, but you will want to consider which type of handle fits your own personal needs.
Brushes vary when it comes to bristle material. Some have nylon bristles, others wire, and still others stainless steel. Some of these materials are better on specific types of grill grates. For instance, nylon is soft and won't damage ceramic or porcelain grates. Nylon and wire bristles can get between grates, but they are also prone to shedding and can get in your food. Stainless steel coils won't shed, but you might have to be gentle when cleaning.
How do you clean a grill brush?
DuVal Warner, chef at Ranch 45 Local Provisions in Solano Beach, California, has an interesting trick for cleaning a grill brush. "I proactively clean the grill after each use with a halved onion while it is still hot, so there shouldn't be debris to brush," he says. "When cleaning the brush, first soak in hot water, then spray with an outdoor hose. Don’t use chemicals and never scrub the brush as the bristles may loosen and could serve as a physical contaminant in food products." Todd Nash, an executive chef with Good Time Design, adds another tip. "After rinsing, I place over the grill to completely dry off the metal parts using the heat to evaporate all the moisture," he says.
Should you clean your grill's grates every time you use it?
Yes, you will only benefit from clean grill grates. "The grill grates should be as clean as the grates on your stovetop," says Warner. "A dirty grill invites bacteria and pests." Nash says frequent cleaning “helps the food not stick to the grill grates and produces a better sear. I typically clean the grates halfway through, and then a few minutes before I put the food on. You want the grill grates as clean and hot as possible.”
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Hannah Selinger has written about food and drinks for local and national publications since 2015. A former sommelier, Hannah has worked for some of New York’s top restaurant groups, including Laurent Tourondel’s BLT group and David Chang’s Momofuku group. Her work has appeared in Eater, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Wine Enthusiast, and more. Hannah is also a graduate of the International Culinary Center, which is where she honed her superior grilling skills.
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